About 354 forex trade investors allegedly defrauded by an ex-banker, Seye Onigbinde, are currently embittered after their investments went down the drain.
Some of them, who spoke with City Round on Friday, said they were convinced to put their money in the scheme, thinking it would bring fortunes.
Onigbinde is being investigated by the police at the Area F Command, Ikeja, Lagos, led by ACP Akinbayo Olasoji, over a sum of N574.2m.
He allegedly obtained the sum from his unsuspecting victims while promising them a monthly interest of 20 to 30 per cent.
It was gathered that the suspect operated the scheme as a business venture named Blueprint Business Development and Consulting located on Hughes Street, Alagomeji, Yaba.
The police spokesperson in the state, DSP Bala Elkana, while confirming Onigbinde’s arrest, had said, “He collected this money from these individuals with a promise of extraordinary gains to those willing to invest in the scheme which he claimed was built on lucrative trading in forex trading, Bitcoin and shares purchase from four international brokers.
“This get-rich-quick scheme attracted gullible and greedy investors, who received the expected high returns. The more investors his scheme attracted, he created a business and used agents to find more and more investors.”
Our correspondent gathered that the victims include bankers, business owners, and civil servants with individual investment ranging from N1m to N10m.
Some of them, who spoke with City Round and identified themselves only by their first names, said Onigbinde dashed their hopes.
A worker at a consulting firm, Oyinlade, said her current investment is N1.3m, adding that a friend linked her with Onigbinde in February 2019.
“I started with N200,000 and I got 20 per cent interest. I reinvested all the money and added N50,000. I got more money and reinvested. I thought it would yield a fortune and I increased it to N1.3m in July 2019. The money was supposed to be due for payment on September 29.
“He (Onigbinde) contacted me in October and begged that I should give him few days. Later, he promised to pay me in October. Afterwards, he shifted it to November. He said he would spread the payments across three months. That was the last conversation we had until January when he sent me an email, stating that I should give him one year to sort himself out.”
Another investor, Desola, who lost N2.3m, said she was convinced to invest in the scheme having heard the success stories of some of her friends.
She recalled, “I invested in May 2019. I was supposed to receive payments from October to January with interest. I was expecting 30 per cent interest. Together with my principal, I thought I would get something big at the end of the day.
“When he could not pay me in October, he started making promises. The last promise he made was that he would pay me in January. It was when I read about his arrest in the newspapers that I knew have been defrauded.”
Hassan, one of the agents working for the prime suspect, said his friend, one Victor, put N5m in the failed transactions, adding that Victor had wanted to use his principal and interest to execute a project in December 2019.
Hassan, a bank official, said, “Seye (Onigbinde) and I used to work at the same bank until 2016 when I joined another bank. Sometime in January 2019, he told me he was into forex trading. He persuaded me to invest and said I would get 20 to 30 per cent interest on my principal. He also asked me to refer friends to him. I introduced a friend called Victor to him.
“Three months later, he approached me again and I gave it a try. I first invested N200,000 and got 20 per cent interest at the end of the month. I then invested N1m and got 30 per cent interest.
“I then introduced my brother to Seye. My brother invested N1m in June 2019. He received his principal and 30 per cent interest at the end of the month. Two months later, he invested N2m but he didn’t get any interest.
“Victor initially invested N1m. He got the interest and increased his investment to N5m. He got the interest for some months. I sensed there was a problem with the scheme in October 2019 when he (Seye) started delaying in paying interest.
“I advised my brother and Victor that we should pull out of the transactions. My brother agreed and we collected our principal but Victor said he would continue. He said he had a project he wanted to use the money for in December.”
Adelaja, a businessman whose N2m was trapped, said one of Onigbinde’s agents identified as Peace persuaded him to stake his money.
“She convinced me and I invested N2m. She had been telling me about the man (Onigbinde) for some time. She said the business was very reliable. I took my time to think about it. In November, I asked her if she was sure I would get 30 per cent interest on my investment and she said yes. That was when I decided to invest. I have a strong feeling she connived with him.”
Onigbinde declined to speak with our correspondent, claiming that he had told the police everything about the case.